2015 Distinguished Alumni

Michelle Boone of Chicago is commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Boone considers herself an arts crusader and is responsible for promoting arts and culture for its own value and as a lever for economic development. Boone was recently named one of Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans.” Prior to her appointment in 2011 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, she was senior program officer for the Joyce Foundation, a charitable organization that serves the Great Lakes region. “Michelle Boone has strengthened Chicago as a vibrant cultural epicenter through her Chicago Cultural Plan,” Graham said. “Her vision for the city’s future cultural life values making the arts more accessible to all.”

Matt Ewer of Indianapolis is Founder and CEO of “BEAN LLC.” BEAN LLC is the parent company of the online retail grocery Company Green BEAN Delivery, the wholesale company Tiny Footprint Distribution, and two certified organic vegetable farms EcOhio Farm and the Feel Good Farm. Each company focuses on creating viable business solutions to help sustainable family farms and food businesses reach their true market potential. Each of the company’s five food hubs coordinates with over 50 local vendors to create the Midwest’s’ most extensive network of sustainable farmers and artisans. Matt Ewer is a true innovator in the sustainable food market,” Graham said. “He is a pioneer in advancing natural food accessibility and is dedicated to making Hoosiers and all Americans healthier.”